Foodie Fashion: Watermelon for All Year Round

If there is one thing that I own too many of, it’s purses. What started out as one purse occasionally gifted at Christmas when I was maybe twelve or thirteen has expanded out to take up two shelves in my closet. I have little purses, options with cupcakes on them, bags I’ve pilfered from my mother’s collection, and ones into which I could probably fit most of my body. It’s a problem, and although I called a hiatus on all purse purchases over a year ago, I did break my rule in the spring.

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At the Kate Spade Outlet in Delaware, I found a jewel. Shaped like a watermelon, dotted with little black beads representing seeds, and sturdy enough where I don’t freak out anytime my clumsy self bumps into anything, this bag is one of my favorite finds. It’s fun and jazzes up any outfit. It’s also something that not everyone has, which is great because once I run into a dozen people with watermelon purses, the original feel of this one will assuredly wear off as this piece is definitely part fashion and part novelty. The clutch isn’t available any longer, but Kate Spade specializes in the cutesy prints and right now there are a variety of cute things with tacos on them that you can buy. For now, I am resisting the urge to add a hot sauce clutch to my shelves, but I don’t know how strong I will be. I am weak alongside anything that has to do with food and drink, and I doubt that’ll change anytime soon.

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#WineStudio: Feeling Aglow with Arínzano

When I lived in Spain, I hardly ever drank wine. I was in the land of hard cider. Other kids who couldn’t handle the tartness or didn’t like the idea of throwing back an inch of sidra in one gulp drank wine, but I am first and foremost an acidhead, and this delicacy was right up my alley. Sidra and pinchos, particularly salty olives, were what I liked any weeknight, and wine fell to the wayside. I was in the northwest of Spain, but had I known Arínzano wasn’t too far away in the northeast, I may have explored the world of wine a bit more. During a recent #WineStudio, we became acquainted with Hacienda de Arinzano, a company located in Navarra that is the only winery in Spain certified by the World Wildlife Fund for environmental responsibility. As a proud owner of a WWF plush I received for a symbolic animal adoption, I think that last tidbit is pretty cool. Still, the juice is what matters, so read on to see what I thought.

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Although most people, myself included, think of red wines when they think of Spain, I’m going to start with the 2014 Hacienda de Arínzano White. Consisting of 100% Chardonnay, a grape that 100% of people have an opinion about, this was one of those bright bottles with a lot of vivacity to it. If you’ve had a lemon tart, that’s what this wine reminded me of. It had a tartness to it, yet was still honeyed and sweet and buttery, without making me want to gag. I like my whites with a few punches of acid, and luckily, the warmed notes of this one didn’t detract from that. We tasted this alongside the rose I mentioned in my last post, which had a bit more complexity and peppery flavors than this. At $19.99 a bottle, this is a very approachable white that would appeal to people that like Chardonnay with oak and those who like a crisp French style too. Pull it out at the next holiday gathering and see how this goes over. I’m betting it will do well.

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Although we did play with some whites and roses, I came to the Arínzano session excited for the reds. The first one I opened was the 2012 Hacienda de Arínzano Red, which was made up of 85% Tempranillo, 10% Merlot, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. The red was a wine that stuck with me. While their white wine was fun and flirty, this was deeper yet still felt young. If the white was Rapunzel from Tangled, this was Jasmine from Aladdin. A little floral, a lot fruity, and fairly easy to pair with anything from hard cheeses to crostini topped with a variety of toppings, this wine was a simple winner. This one also clocks in at $19.99, so a few will please many without costing the same as a villa in Tuscany. I suggest this one as another one to grab for upcoming holiday gatherings where everyone has a different favorite grape. Most will probably agree on the pleasure of this one.

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Now, I’ll say something that most others cannot: Merlot is the wine that got me into wine. The first few times I had wines in restaurants, Merlot was readily available, easy to pronounce, and a wine that I thought I had heard was good once. So, for about a year, Merlot was my red of choice, and although my tastes have expanded since then, Merlot always holds a special place in my heart. While the first red we tried only consisted of 10% Merlot, the 2008 Arínzano La Casona was 75% Tempranillo and 25% Merlot. Arinzano cheekily said during the event that they have one of the best Merlots in Europe, a statement with which I am inclined to believe. This combo was soft yet still had some texture to it with a leathery weight. Dark pitted fruit, a decadent red coloring that would match Hugh Hefner’s many robes, and aromas that reminded me of an old library gave this wine the appearance of being refined, smart, and layered. Going back to my Disney analogy, this one is Belle in the princess lineup. This was a wine I will never forget. Now, part of that may be due to it tasting good, but it also has to do with the fact that I opened this up about an hour before we had a huge storm with a tornado touchdown in our area, which knocked out our power for four days, upturned the umbrella on our patio, and resulted in a tree falling on my sister’s car. R.I.P. both the tree and the car. A memorable wine had during a memorable evening. When I actually poured a glass, it was in our kitchen with the dog sitter helping me watch my grandmother’s dog surrounded by five or six fragrant Yankee Candles and a flashlight pointed up toward the ceiling to provide the most light. It wasn’t how I had pictured sipping on this wine, but it made all the more impact on me for that reason. The SRP for this bottle is $39.99, so if you decide to drop forty dollars on this bottle, spend the time to decant it, enjoy it, and find friends who would appreciate it. This is not for your grandmother that only drinks Moscato.

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At this point, I drink a lot of wine. There are wines that I try that are not so good. Others which I can appreciate the skillful work put in without loving them. As well as some that I adore. The Hacienda de Arínzano wines are solid wines that you could pull out any day without breaking the bank. They are fun, tasty, and don’t require a ton of brooding over what they mean. In other words, they’re perfect for these days that are cooling off that make you yearn for wine that has weight yet still has remnants of a breezy summer day. If you pick up some bottles, let me know if you agree!

These wines were kindly provided to me by the winery listed above, but all opinions are my own. 

 

 

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#WineStudio: Getting Through the Day with Some Rosé

While the dog days of summer are behind us, the last thing most drinkers are now thinking of is rosé. Rosé, frosé, and pretty much anything in a shade of millennial pink are all associated with the months between April and August. Why drink it any other time of year? Even though we had our #WineStudio session in June, I held off until September for this reason. Rosé is good for just about any day. I’m making my case here. Read about these wines and tell me if you still think they can only be enjoyed when the weather is above eighty. Then, join me for the September #WineStudio Twitter sessions on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. my time so we can learn together and question our preconceived notions about all kinds of wine.

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The first wine I tried in June was from Domaines Paul Mas, which is located in the Languedoc and covers over 600 hectares of this well-known wine area. We’ve spoken to a number of small wineries and family run businesses since I started following along with #WineStudio, but this one was the opposite. However, I quickly learned that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s like other big brands making cookie cutter wines that are more boring than my high school AP Economics class. I brought the 2016 Rosé Aurore to book club and it was gone before all of the members even showed up! So clearly others agreed. Very light and fruity, this was a subtle bottle meant to be enjoyed, not examined. These are the kinds of wines I love to bring to gatherings where I know the majority of people like wine, but don’t necessarily stay up reading articles about wine regions like myself. They’re not too fussy, they don’t fight back against finger foods, and this one, at 750 mL, is big enough to share. With a SRP of $11, this isn’t a price point that would piss anyone off, so maybe try bringing it to your next book club session and see how it goes over.

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After the bottle that won my book club girls’ over, I opened up a wine with a critter on the bottle. From the same company, the 2016 Arrogant Frog Rosé was another easy drinking wine. Even though it is a critter, the Arogant Frog sports a beret and cane, which makes it just about the fanciest critter I’ve ever seen slapped onto a wine label. He’s a critter for all those people who judge them, myself included. This wine was incredibly fragrant, and had aromas of barely ripe strawberries. Pale pink, with a dash of acid, this is the wine for those of you out there addicted to the promises made on the nose. It had a youthful feel, and with a price point of $10, it’s a bottle for the youth. Don’t let the critter scare you away in the wine aisle. This is one that will make many happy and won’t set you back an arm and a leg. It hits that sweet spot that is so difficult to find for wines, which is something anyone can appreciate.

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The next rosé we tried was from a winery I will highlight more heavily in the weeks to come; it was the 2016 Hacienda de Arinzano Rosé. Made up of 100% Tempranillo and with a SRP of $19.99, it’s the type of pink wine I would keep in the fridge all year round.  A deep rosy pink color beckoned me to open this one ASAP, and the flavors did not disappoint. It was peppery and had complex fruit from red berries to more bitter ones; the flavors I found weren’t for the faint of heart. Arinzano made a point to highlight that the grapes in this bottle come from a dedicated rosé vineyard, and while I have no idea if the wine would have tasted similar if the Tempranillo didn’t come from this specific vineyard, I will say Arinzano knocked it out of the park when they bottled this one. This was a strong rosé, and its best days lie ahead. Undoubtedly the most exciting pink juice I’ve ever had in my glass, all I can say is go out and buy it. Now.

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To break things up a bit, I opened the Côté Mas Brut Rosé. We discussed this one early on like the other Paul Mas wines of this session, but this was also around the time my boss left the company for which I work and my days got pretty hectic. I was admittedly behind, and I saved the bubbles for a couple of weeks while my schedule lightened up. When I finally popped the cork and poured out the wine the color of a poppy flower, I had a tough time sharing it. Light bubbles, slightly dry, and flavors of ripened strawberry, this wine is made up of 70% Chardonnay, 20% Chenin Blanc, and 10% Pinot Noir. I enjoyed this one with a cheese plate, and that’s how I suggest you let this one shine. Pick out three or four of your favorite cheeses, throw some fruit on the plate, and open up a sleeve of water crackers. It’s easy, and when bubbles and rosé are involved, I want easy. I have yet to find something the French do that I don’t dig, and this is no exception. At around $16, it’s a steal for those who may think bubbles are out of there budget or expect to give up quality when shopping for affordability.

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Unlike most #WineStudio sessions where most of the wines come from the same winery, vineyard, or general location, this Rosé session mixed it up, and this one came to us from California. Bonterra’s inaugural 2016 Rosé from growers in Mendocino County is a Grenache-based wine, but it is foremost an organic wine. Our discussion throughout the night focused on their commitment to increasing biodiversity, the wine’s label highlights the usage of organic grapes, and a quick look at the website firmly establishes the organic roots behind the brand. As I almost always say, I am all for organic wine, but I need it to taste good first. This was dry with bright acid, and the pale peachy color was filled with aromas of strawberry and rose, with melon and apple flavors dominating the palate. It was simple and enjoyable, and at around $16 a pop, it’s a hipster’s dream. With this price point, the flavors I experienced, and the ease of pairing this one with any light fare, I can’t think of one twentysomething friend to whom I wouldn’t gift this bottle.

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Also from the West Coast, the last wine I opened during this session was the Conn Creek 2016 Rosé of Malbec from Napa Valley. The palest of wines, with an almost silver edge to it, this reminded me of early spring. Whereas with Bonterra we focused on organic grapes and their meaning, with Conn Creek, it was all about their commitment to experimentation with wine and having fun. Oftentimes, people think of wine as some serious endeavor, but at the end of the day, it’s there to enjoy. With this bottle, there was a bitter quality to it, it was crisp like mornings in March, and the fruity flavors weren’t of ripe red fruits, but more so plums and kumquats. This one is slightly pricier than some of the others with an SRP of $24. For me, $20 to $25 is my sweet spot for spending on a bottle for the week, but if you’re more in the $10 to $15 range, I still say buy a bottle or two of this one and open it up in the winter when you’re sick of reds and want to prove to yourself that rosé is not just a wine for the summer.

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Around this time of year, I almost always talk about rosé. I will admit that it’s not a wine I gravitate towards because more often than not I’m underwhelmed. However, by trying new bottles, I have discovered that there are rosé out there for everyone. If you like a wine that is so light it’s more refreshing than water on a ninety degree day, you can get it. If you’re like me and like a juicy wine with a lot of color and flavor to blend in with all the brightness of summer, I’m starting to find that those are around too. So even though it’s now September, go out and buy a couple of bottles; it’s not just for summer any more.

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Feeling the Cheer with Some Beer

I post a lot about wine here, but the fact of the matter is, I also love beer. I love sour beers, wheat beers, fruity beers. I’m willing to try them all, although I’ve certainly had some duds over the years. Recently, I was sent some samples of the new Rodenbach Fruitage from Belgium. They also sent me a trucker hat. Three guesses on which of those two things is more my style. I have seen the Rodenbach name before, and after reading up I learned that the property the brewery is on can be traced all the way back to 1380, but this was my first real encounter with their beer. Low in alcohol, only 4.2%, it’s something to drink when you’re looking to just take the slightest edge off. This one is a blend of 75% young Rodenbach and 25% two-year aged beer in standing oak casks. But who cares about that, right? The taste is the most important part.

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As someone who practically inhales every incarnation of berry, I appreciated the forward flavors of elderberry and cherry, making it refreshing. This is an undeniably fruity wine, with especially noteworthy warm and summery red cherries. It’s definitely geared toward people looking for something that doesn’t taste like beer. While it may not be the one that I fill my fridge with, it is a nice, light option when it is ninety degrees outside and I’m not looking for anything to spend too much time thinking about. It’s easy to drink, it’s fun to open up with friends, and it’s just a touch tart for those of you out there who like a subtle hand. The little cans make it all the easier to enjoy. One thing I asked myself when I tried this was, was this sent to me because I am a woman and that’s the major market for a fruity low alcohol beer? I don’t have an answer to that, although I think that maybe that is true. But either way, I enjoyed it, and at the end of the day, that’s all that matters to me. I think that’s all that should matter to you, too.

These beer was kindly provided to me by the brewery listed above, but all opinions are my own. 

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#WineStudio: Drinking Like an Heir with Achaval Ferrer

I am a red wine girl. I will enjoy a zippy white and sip rosé during a summer picnic, but I always come home to a glass of red. In the month of April, I was lucky enough to open up five bottles of Achaval Ferrer wines through #WineStudio. Located in Argentina, this winery has been around since 1995 and focuses on terroir-driven wines. This session was all about the land, the grapes, and how the winery allows the bottle to speak for itself. From the elegant yet simple labels to discussing a debut wine for them, we touched on everything over the course of the month, and this was certainly one #WineStudio that focused on the balance between drinking wine and understanding it.

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Beginning with the 2015 Achaval Ferrer Malbec, I found a wine full with aromas of tobacco. While I sipped, there were black fruits, some smokiness, and enough acid to balance out the fuller flavors of the wine. This was heavier than the Ordaz Malbec I mentioned a few months ago and it paired wonderfully with the peppery beef jerky I was snacking on. Oftentimes on my day off, I open up a bottle of wine, snack all day, and abuse my Netflix subscription. It was the perfect blend of my snobby interest in wine and my lowbrow interests in jerky. If you are a fan of these things as well, this may be the bottle for you.

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Following the Malbec, we moved onto the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, a bottle that gave me woodsy vibes. There were the usual bursting flavors of ripe red and dark tart fruits, but there was also a touch of stone and cedar. As one other #WineStudio participant described it, the “Cab tastes like a barrel room smells.” This wine knows what it is with a lush texture and a lingering finish. Like most Archaval Ferrer wines, this is a product made with low intervention, allowing the grape to express itself and the consumer to really understand what this lush wine is all about. The only thing it did that was bad was make me spill half a glass on my favorite Spider-Man shirt, but that probably has more to do with my own clumsiness than with any fault in the wine itself.

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A varietal I consistently label a beast, with this one being no exception, we tasted the 2015 Cabernet Franc at the end of April, a debut of this wine in their lineup. This one was robust having lots of cherry and red berry flavors with a nice dry finish to it. For those of you out there that like broody wines that taste like someone opened up a cigar and dumped all of its insides into the bottle, this is the one to try. It’s the kind of wine to drink with a book, in a leather chair, surrounded by a library and fireplacce. The SRP on this one, like all of the wines I’ve already mentioned, is $24.99, which is a great value for all of the layers to be found within each bottle. I know everyone talks about Malbec from this neck of the woods, but take a risk and try this one, I doubt you’ll be disappointed. This bottle also has the added benefit of being available at Morton’s, so you can dive into it during your next elaborate steak dinner.

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After a few weeks of being in the know, we did something a little different for #WineStudio and did a blind tasting. Now, I could probably tell a red from a white and a Pinot Noir from a Petit Verdot, but blind tastings are intimidating! You go in knowing nothing, everyone makes different guesses, and then everything is revealed and you learn just how far away from the truth you were. Well, that’s how I imagine they generally go. This was my first one. Although I usually try my #WineStudio wines a few days before the event itself, these two mysterious ones I made sure to save for the day of.

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Opening up each bottle, the corks revealed that these wines were from 2012 and 2013, but that was it. As I tried both, I immediately thought these were Cabernet Sauvignon. The friend with whom I tasted guessed Malbec or Merlot. The 2012 was a much deeper purple color and on the nose it gave off aromas of violet and dark berries. The 2013 was fruitier on the nose with a bit of earthiness, but still had some crisp floral qualities to it. When we tasted, both were full of black berries, cherry, and plum flavors with a bit of a spicy, peppery edge. Between the two, the 2012 was more intense and had a rotund aspect that came through while the 2013 was a touch softer with the fruity levels coming about more aggressively. After some sips and guesses, we unveiled the 2012 Quimera and 2013 Quimera. Both a blend of 50% Malbec, 24% Cabernet Sauvignon, and smaller percentages of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot, these wines are a product of the year in which they were made. Unlike the other bottles we tasted, which are obviously crafted with love, these bottles are even above that, the best of the best. They are all about the terroir and are meant to highlight Argentina in a unique way, an experiment in love. For those who love bold wine, the 2012 is the way to go, while the 2013 is for those that love a decadent yet still fruity juice in their glass. It was actually a lot of fun to see what everyone thought before the big reveal and it definitely warmed me up to the idea of more blind tastings in the future.

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It’s because of wineries like Achaval Ferrer that Argentinian wine and Malbec are now things that fly off of shelves and appear on most restaurant menus. They’re reliable, tasty, and the producers are clearly just as passionate about their product as the winemakers wherever you reside. The best thing about these Twitter talks every month is you never know what you’ll discover, so join us in September and see what this is all about. I haven’t regretted it since the first session I joined, and you won’t either.

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#WineStudio: Being a Drinker with Meeker

At the end of the day, I want a wine that I enjoy. I think everyone does. Even those people out there stocked up on YellowTail in case there is ever a wine shortage in the world. This is the common thread that brings all wine drinkers together. No one goes out thinking they want to try a crummy wine or spend money on something awful. However, there are also some bottles that clearly have more thought and effort put into them than others. Those are the ones that the real enthusiasts gravitate towards and they result in the best value for people looking for something different.

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In order to bring these kinds of wine lovers together, there are programs like #WineStudio, and then there are also places like Meeker Vineyard that cater precisely to the people I mentioned above. While #WineStudio results in geeking out about wine over Twitter, it’s the wineries, companies, and people who participate in the program that keep me coming back for more. Over the course of the month chatting with Meeker Vineyard, we learned about how they have been producing wines since the 1980’s, how brother/sister duo Lucas and Kelly have taken over the reins from their parents, and how they were the 8th post prohibition winery to snag a license in the Dry Creek Valley. That last fact makes me want to go back and rewatch the Ken Burns documentary on the prohibition right now. Still, while I love all the things that make this family business one which I want to support, the wine matters too.

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Starting off with bright fruit, we first enjoyed the 2013 Hoskins Vineyard Grenache. This had a soft, silky texture, lots of cherry flavors, and was the ultimate summer wine. Now that it’s hot, humid, and generally disgusting outside, this full-flavored lightness is something that I still seek out. While we did originally taste these back in March (I am nothing if not a procrastinator) and it’s an all-year kind of bottle, this is the one to buy now and drink now once you’re over any wine that comes in shades of yellow and pink. The SRP of this one is $37, which is a splurge for some and pennies for others, but worth the investment for anyone who wants a little more Grenache in their life.

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Pretty much on the opposite end of things was the 2013 Cabernet Franc from Dry Creek Valley. While we do try a wide range of wines with every new #WineStudio, what I immediately loved about the selection from Meeker was that they didn’t send the usual suspects. If there is one thing I know about drinking, it’s that you can find Pinot Noir, the other Cab, and Merlot by the glass on every menu in America. Oftentimes when I am at home, I crave something just a little different. This wine was intense in color and flavor. Looking ink-colored in the glass, every sip was silky with an edge, like a ballerina in a biker club. There was a lot of character, some green pepper, and like most things, the more time I spent with it, the more it softened and opened up. Although this was a monster wine, it was not unstructured. That being said, I gave my grandmother one sip and she looked as if she was going to pass out, so newbies tread lightly. The SRP at $45 is a bit higher than I know most of my twentysomething friends are willing to go, but buy one or two bottles and save it for the nights when you know someone will appreciate it. That’s how this one will reward you.

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If I haven’t bored you with my rambling yet, I saved the best for last. The coolest bottle, one that I am going to repurpose as an olive oil dispenser, was covered in colorful handprints. Aptly named, the 2013 Handprint Merlot from Sonoma County was stunning on the outside. Admittedly, this doesn’t always mean anything about the inside, but this one did not disappoint. Over the course of the month, we learned that the handprints always belong to one of the winemakers in the father/son team and the wine itself is usually a blend of a Merlot vineyard in Dry Creek and one in Alexander Valley. Produced since 1992 and just as old as I am, this one was the best of both worlds. Lighter than the Cabernet Franc and darker than the Grenache, this wine had rich fruit flavors, a nice dash of acidity, and a touch of leathery feeling to it. The deep ruby wine was perfect for the snow day and the red beans and rice with which I paired it. The layers to be found here stood up to the Sideways stigma, and although they produce 2000 cases annually, buy all that you can at the SRP of $45.

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These wines were fun, and while you can see the care that goes into each new bottle, they are ones to open with wine friends and not take too seriously. Sure, you can unpack all the elements and the heart of the wine, but all of that comes secondary to enjoying it. This was one of my favorite #WineStudio’s this year, and it was great to chat with a family unit that clearly takes its wine seriously, yet also ultimately just wants to make something for others to share and enjoy. I think that’s something all wine lovers should remember every time they open up a bottle. Sure, points matter when trying to market and sell a wine, but what matter more is the experience that comes with it, and Meeker delivers with that.

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#WineStudio: Ordaz Wines. I Can’t Rhyme.

So, breaking with my (probably unappreciated) tradition of trying to rhyme all my wine blog posts, this one doesn’t sound like my sixth grade attempts at poetry. Ninety percent of that has to do with the fact that the only thing I could think of to rhyme with Ordaz is spazz. The other ten percent is due to my inability to post any blogs on a reasonable timeline. I tried these wines at the end of winter, and it is now June. I’m trying, but the struggle between work life and writing is real.

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Do you know what cuts the edge off though? Wine. Between pouring glasses for book club, family members, and the occasional evening alone, I’ve upped my consumption of wine this year while maintaining quality. Part of that is thanks to #WineStudio. I know I talk about this program once a month or so, but it really has had an impact on my understanding of wine and my ability to enjoy it. There are other twentysomethings into wine, but I always feel like a novice when I attempt to bridge the gap between myself and the more seasoned winos. I can’t name every grape out there; I would most likely fail miserably at a blind tasting; I also feel like the girl always asking the dumb questions. If you ever feel the same way, tune into a #WineStudio on Twitter on a Tuesday night around 9 p.m. It helps.

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Going along with the way I always question myself about wine, usually I don’t include too much about the wineries in my posts. I’ll throw out a fact like when it was established or how the winery is run, but from my experience with my friends, they don’t ask many questions about what makes a wine special. It’s not that they don’t care, but more often than not, the top two factors in picking a wine is price and taste. In that order. However, I know there are others out there like me who geek out over the little details, so I’m switching things up from now on, and I’m going to share those tidbits that make the wine exciting to me.

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A few months ago, we explored the offerings of Ordaz Family Wines, a company that is committed to producing single vineyard wines. From our discussions, it appeared that Eppie, the son of founder Chuy Ordaz, really took over the reins of the business, growing it into a family-run operation dedicated to the grape. They are the wine, and you can sense the emotion put into each bottle when chatting with this family that hails from Mexico. It’s about terroir and letting the vineyard speak for itself. They’re following through on what they think is best for their wines, and it’s paying off in big ways.

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Pinot Noir is one of those wines of which I wish I always drank more. It’s light and fun while retaining personality. Luckily, this winter I was forced into trying more with the jewel-colored 2014 Pinot Noir from the Placida Vineyard with Ordaz. Normally Pinot brings up ideas of fruit-driven wines, but this bottle had nuance to it. There was that telltale flavor of ripe red berries, but there was also an earthiness to be found. The silky mouthfeel helped it all go down faster than I intended, although you’ll hear no complaints from me. The SRP is $38, which maybe isn’t an everyday wine price, but still a steal enough for me to invest in a handful of bottles. I’m going to be adding this one to my line up; it’s one you can pull out during any season, which I appreciate in the summer when my body thinks it will reject one more sip of something golden or pink.

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For those who like something a little spicier, the 2012 Malbec from the Sandoval Vineyard offered up a bit of variety to this #WineStudio session. Sharing a name with my favorite drama queen on Vanderpump Rules, this vineyard helped Ordaz craft some interesting juice. There were fruits to be found, but all of that was underscored by the slate and coffee flavors that kept this wine robust. It was heavy, yet reminded me of those hippos from Fantasia with the tutus that balance out the otherwise rotund appearance of the animals. There were a lot of flavors to unpack with just an edge of refinement. With an SRP of $25, it’s one to invest in and enjoy once the weather cools off and you need a glass to warm you from the inside out.

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Two very different wines from one consistent winery- I’ll take it! We didn’t get to experience the breadth of offerings, but we did dive deep with two standout options. If it’s a testament to what else they offer, it all seems promising. They are on their A-game right now, and I can’t wait to see what the future brings for this family-run operation.

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